Friday, April 30, 2010

NINJA CRISIS (Leopoldo Abadia)

GLOBALIZATION

Nowadays Globalization makes that any event all over the world could affect even our small company in our small town. Today there are too many uncontrollable variables which generates uncertainty and, therefore, risk in our decisions.

This changeable environment forces us to have discretion and common sense. Also we must always be well informed, we must read a lot from reliable sources and always with critical thinking. And we must have a model which let us link all this variables and we must learn to reason in order to organize all the information we get.


Cover of The Ninja Crisis (Leopoldo Abadia)


CRISIS CAUSES

This Globalization isn't the only reason of this crisis because it doesn't eliminate the individual freedom. However, Globalization has amplified and expanded the effects of this crisis of communication, honesty, ambition and values.

It's a communication and honesty crisis since nobody has spoken clearly and financial products have been sold which not even the sellers knew what they really were or this sellers didn't want to explain the buyers what they really were.

And it's a values crisis because many people, especially banking, have tried to earn money at any price (for examble, offering subprime mortgages to pleople who couldn't afford) without taking into account the consequences of very few clear transactions, or very risky transactions like the ones with hedge funds.


CRISIS OVERCOMING

The solution to the crisis demands politicians more honest which try to improve the social and economic wellfare instead of only thinking of reaching the power at any price. This solution demands especially much common sense and to recover the ethics and the coherence in business, economical and financial activity. It also strongly demands wisdom and prudence in our decisions and ability in the priorization of the difficulties. It demands huge doses of optimism and global citizens who risk hunting business oportunities out of their city or country.


CONCLUSION

It will be essential to recover the proactive attitude, to work hard again, the enterprising spirit and the individual initiative. The world needs more businessmen who generate economical value and wealth. And the world needs especially businessmen of their own lifes, generating value improving their surrounding people and smiling at many people, at all the people we can.

Summarizing, this book explains the origin of the current crisis and the reasons of its universality. It's also a book of basic economics clearly explained. But it's especially a social book which stress the social consequences of economics, of its crisis and of the lack of ethics. Everything under a really humanistic and close point of view. The autor searches for the complicity and empathize with the reader impregnating all the pages with sense of humor, anecdotes and personal experiences. A pleasant and enjoyable book very easy to read.


CRISIS CHRONOLOGY


1 - 2001. Internet explosion and .com companies bubble.

2- The US Federal Reserve reduces in only two years the rate interest from 6.5% to 1%.


3- This dopes the housing market, which at that moment was taking off.


4- The real price of housing in USA doubles in ten years.


5- The interest rate in the international financial markets has been unusually low for years
.

6- Banks realized that business became smaller.


7- Us Banks began to:


a) give riskier credits with a higher interest rate.

b) Compensate the lost of profit margin increasing the number ot transactions.

8- Concerning the riskier credits, they offered mortgages to Ninjas (no income no job no assets) with a higher interest (there was more risk) and they tried to take advantage of the housing boom: although ninjas couldn't pay, the house would be more valuable. This mortgages were called subprime. As US economy goes well, the current insolvent debtor could find a job and pay.


9- Concerning the number of transactions, as banks gave many loans, they run out of money and they asked foreign banks for money, so the risk expanded.


10- To fulfill Basilea rules (a minimum capital relative to the assets), banks had to sell this mortgages to reduce their liabilities. To be able to sell the prime and also the subprime mortgages, they conceived the mortgage backed securities. Selling this products the got more money to keep giving mortgages and they kept expanding products of doubtful profitability all over the world.


11- Rating agencies helped banks with generous ratings of this kind of products of
doubtful profitability.

Now It's worth remembering that this business was based on that Ninjas kept paying their mortgages and that the housing market kept increasing.

12- But in the early 2007 housing prices in USA slumped and Ninjas realized that they were paying for their house too much money, so they decided not to keep paying or they couldn't keep paying. Automatically nobody wanted to buy the mortgage backed securities and the ones who had them couldn't sell them. As the value of houses was less than the guarantees of the loan, the money began to disappear.

13 - Lehman brothers went bankrupt. It wasn't lucky because the US government didn't rescue it. It was too much after having done the same with AIG. US government wanted to teach banking a lesson, but the consequence was the worse crisis after the Second World War.
14- Banks didn't lend money each other because they didn't say how many waste productes the other bank has and, therefore, if they will be able to pay back the borrowed money. The euribor goes up as a consequence of the lack of confidence between banks. As banks didn't have money, they didn't loan money and they didn't give mortgages.

The euribor is the interest reference for mortgages in Europe. As the Euribor increases, people have more and more difficulties to pay the mortgages. So they reduce expenses and consumption falls. Companies didn't sell and, therefore, they reduce their production and dismiss workers. Unemployment increases. Unemployed people can't pay their mortgages. Delinquency ratio increases. The solvency of banks get worse and the loan descreases even more.
15- While this crisis impoverished citizens, banking executives earned huge quantities of money thanks to bonus for the sale of financial products and mortgages of doubtful reputation.16 - The European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve have injected liquidity so that banks could have money and could keep giving loans.
17 - There are experts who say that, of course, there is money but there isn't confidence. That is to say, the liquidity crisis is in essence a confidence crisis.18 - Meanwhile sovereign funds (funds created by countries with superavit thanks to oil and gas exports) buy shares of big american bankrupt banks.19 - The Lack of loans suffocates companies, which have to dismiss workers, unemployment increases and consumption and housing investment decreases.

20 - Countries reduce their taxes collection because of a less economic activity and consumption and their social expenses increases due to unemployment compensations. Besides, countries have tried to give an incentive to consumption and employment with public investment. This high fiscal deficit generates a sovereign debt crisis wich causes an increase of the cost of the financing of this debt. The rescue of Greece encouraged investors and speculators who try to earn money generating doubts about the solvency of some countries and, this way, achieving an increase of the interest rate of their debt.

21 - To avoid speculation, countries have to reduce their fiscal deficits decreasing the social welfare state (many social policies disappear) and increasing taxes. This way the economy doesn't improve and people become poorer while banking executives keep earning a lot of money.



Finally, next you have links of other interesting book I have read:


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LEARNING PHOTOGRAPHY IN ISTANBUL

In this post I would like to show the most interesting photos I took in Istanbul. I will explain the main motif I wanted to photograph and how I could have got a better picture with more suitable parameters.


Of course, I'm just learning and my photos can be improved. You can see more pictures and obtain more information of Istanbul and Cappadocia clicking on the links below:


First day in Istanbul
  • Istiklal Caddesi *
  • Galata tower
  • Pub Hayal Kahvesi
Second day in Istanbul
  • Haghia Sophia *
  • Küçük Ayasofya Camii
  • Blue Mosque *
  • Gülhane Park
  • Eminönü, Spice Bazaar and New Mosque *
  • Galata Bridge *
  • Restaurant Artiste Terrasse *
The three days we spent in Cappadocia
  • Uchiçar *
  • Göreme *
  • Göreme Open-Air Museum *
  • Rose Valley *
  • Monks Valley *
  • Kaymakly underground city *
Third day in Istanbul
  • Topkapi (and the Harem) *
  • Sogukçesme Sokagi
  • Grand Bazaar *
  • Ceremony of Whirling Derviches *
Fourth day in Istanbul

  • Dolmabahçe gardens *
  • Ortaköy Mosque *
  • Cruise up to the Bosphorus *
  • Beyazit and University of Istanbul
  • Sülemaniye Mosque *
  • Rüstem Pasa Mosque
Last day in Istanbul
  • St. Saviour in Chora *
  • Fener
  • Eyüp Mosque *
  • Golden Horn
*Strongly Recommended

Haghia Sophia



Photo taken by Elena Senao. I really like the lively environment of Sultanahmet, just as the photo shows


Inside Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. With ISO 800 the noise level is quite good


The image stabilizer did a great job here :)

With a large aperture the deep of field is reduced and so the foreground is emphasized

Blue Mosque



The blue Mosque is one of the most impressive and beautiful buildings in Istanbul


A high ISO makes possible a Tv short enough to get a quite sharp picture without adding much noise. Also we can see the blue tiles and the arabic writing, which gives us additional information about this building


New Mosque



New Mosque in Istanbul. The slanting framing gives a more intense feeling of dynamism


Spice Bazaar



In spite of zoom, the deep of field is enough to get a sharp picture thanks to the small aperture. I like a lot the colourful spices of this picture. Prices give us a lot of information about the place where the picture was taken


I could have reduced the deep of field if I had chosen an aperture of 5 for example. Besides, with this larger aperture, the Tv could have been shorter and the picture sharper, or the ISO lower and the noise less

View of Topkapi, Haghia Sophia and Blue Mosque at night


With a tripod and a Tv of 8 seconds I got a quite sharp picture, but It would have been better if I had chosen a higher ISO like 800 or even 1600 and a larger aperture



Cappadocia - Uchisar


Here I followed the rule of two thirds for composition and I let the person and the castle "breathe". This focal length and aperture let a large deep of field


In this picture I searched for diagonals to get a photo with more strength. This picture is a bit mysterious and this road (from Uchiçar to Göreme) seems to lead us to the unknown

Cappadocia - Göreme Open-Air Museum


Turkish flag is everywhere in Turkey. Turks are very proud of their country and that was what I wanted to show with this picture

I should have chosen a higher ISO to obtain a sharper phtography. Fresco paintings of churches in Göreme Open-Air museum in Cappadocia were amazing


Cappadocia - Göreme


This tablecloth summarizes some of the most interesting activities to do in Cappadocia: balloon tours, whirling dervishes or fairy chimneys


The angle I shot from gives more strength to this picture thanks to the contrast of clouds in the sky. This clouds look like as they were moving fast


In this picture I wanted to reduce the deep of field to emphasize the car, but I didn't succeed. I should have used more zoom (the aperture is ok) and maybe a higher ISO because the picture is a bit dark


Cappadocia - Rose Valley


Landscapes in Cappadocia are amazing, and this picture would have been also fantastic if I had chosen a closer aperture to get a large deep of field. But the composition is right because I followed the rule of two thirds for the girl and the skyline


I could have got a sharper picture with a smaller aperture. I find this photo wonderful because it shows really faithfully the strength of landscapes in Cappadocia


Cappadocia - Monks Valley


Another typical landscape of Cappadocia with this fairy chimneys. This white Balance let get warmer tones than the automatic one

Cappadocia - Pottery in Avanos


Here I succeed taking a picture with a small deep of field to emphasize the vase

In this picture the deep of field is even smaller than the previous one thanks to the zoom. The white balance is necessary to get a more suitable tone


Cappadocia - Kaymakli Underground City


I like this picture because it shows a bit a Cappadocia landscape, how roads are in Cappadocia and the eyes of the driver looking at the skyline


In spite of Tv, the picture is sharp thanks to the image stabilizer. I also could have chosen a higher ISO to improve the sharpness


A corridor in Kaymakli underground city. The light was really faint but I could take this picture thanks to the higher ISO, the sensor size of a DSLR camera and the image stabilizer. Otherwise a tripod would have been essential


Cappadocia - Göreme


I really like this picture because it shows the rural and peaceful environment of Göreme. I should have chosen a higher ISO, 200 for example, to improve the sharpness of this picture thanks to a shorter Tv


Topkapi


Cats are very common in Istanbul


I should have set even a higher ISO to photograph this room in the Harem of Topkapi in Istanbul


Detail that shows how highly decorated is Topkapi


One of the buildings I liked the most of Topkapi


Tiles in Topkapi Palace


It was a pity that this fountain didn't work because it had increased the beauty of this pavilion

Flowers give a colourful look to the gardens of Topkapi. If the aperture had been larger, all this flowers and plants would have looked sharper


Ceremony of Dervishes


Dervishes Ceremony is a really challenging environment to take pictures: light is a bit faint and Dervishes move and whirl


In this picture I tried to freeze the man and to reduce the deep of field to emphasize him. So I chose a large aperture and a short Tv. With this settings is necessary to increase ISO in order to achieve a well exposed picture


On the other hand, in this photo I tried to emphasize the feeling of movement



Dolmabahçe Gardens


A large aperture to keep sharp the main elements of the picture: mosque in Dolmabahçe gardens and girl. I kept in mind the rule of two thirds for composition

Ortaköy - Bosphorus


With a large aperture and a short focal length I kept sharpen the boat, the mosque of Ortaköy and the bridge. The sky gives a dramatic look to this picture


What I want to keep sharp was the rod and the fisherman. So I chose a long focal, a small aperture and I approached the man

With zoom and a small aperture I tried to blur flowers and to keep sharpen the face of the two girls. I should have chosen an ISO 200 to decrease Tv


Ortaköy mosque is incredibly beautiful


A large aperture is required to keep sharpen all the picture

A large aperture and a short focal length keep sharpen the flag and houses in the background. A higher ISO would have made possible a shorter Tv


Bosphorus bridge through the daylight reflected on the Bosphorus. A small aperture keep sharpen water and bridge



Beyazit Mosque


Beyazit Mosque in front of Istanbul University


Sülemaniye Mosque


Süleymaniye mosque with turkish flag

Rüstem Pasa Mosque

Blue tiles in Rüstem Pasa mosque. Parameters are right. As light was quite faint, Tv was a bit long, but Image Stabilizer made possible a sharp picture


Lamps in Rüstem Pasa mosque. I should have chosen WB tungsten

Theodosian Walls


Theodosian walls in Istanbul. Searching for diagonals improve composition


St- Savior in Chora



Domes of St Savior in Chora


This picture of a fantastic mosaic is sharp enough, but a higher ISO and a smaller aperture would have let a shorter Tv


Fener



Walking along the district of Fener in Istanbul


Children playing in a district of Istanbul, called Fener


Eyüp


The slanting framing gives a more intense feeling of dynamism and a better composition taking into account the height of minarets of Eyüp mosque


A fountain in front of Eyüp mosque. I tried to achieve the effect of freezing water but to this effect would have been more noticeable if I had chosen a shorter Tv together with a smaller aperture and a higher ISO


Eyüp is one of the most religious districts of Istanbul. In this picture, women dressed with burka and a child dressed as a prince for the ceremony of circumcision



Sülemaniye Mosque from the Golden Horn


Süleymaniye Mosque from the golden horn. Photography is easier with good conditions of light


Eminönu


Boats, ferries and the New Mosque are the typical features of Eminönü


Fish sandwich are very typical in Istanbul and are sold especially in Eminönü. In this picture I wanted to emphasize the seller


Eminönü is always crowded. In the foreground two women with hiyab


Grand Bazaar



A great example of what deep of field means. In this picture, deep of field is small to emphasize the first lamp and to create a gentle combination of colors. This effect is achieved thanks to a small aperture and the zoom



Blue Mosque in the Evening


If I had chosen a higher ISO, Tv would have been shorter. However, the picture is quite sharpen thanks to Image stabilizer


Haghia Sophia at Night


Haghia Sophia is even more beautiful at night



Other great cities and countries I have already visited are: